South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 1st day January 3, 2012

Kallis, Petersen pound feeble Sri Lanka

Stumps South Africa 347 for 3 (Kallis 159*, Petersen 109, de Villiers 45*) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Alviro Petersen made a memorable return to Test cricket, and Jacques Kallis enjoyed his new-found batting freedom as South Africa made a merry mockery of Sri Lanka's decision to bowl at Newlands. Kallis had a sense of occasion, converting his 114-ball century into a 150-plus score in his 150th Test. His first ton against Sri Lanka, and his first in a year, was all the more significant since it silenced murmurs of failing form following the first pair of his glittering career, in Durban.

Kallis' century reaffirmed his love affair with Cape Town, a venue where he now has nine Test hundreds and over 2000 runs. But one man who might be happier with his day's work is Petersen, whose fluency during his second Test ton glossed over the fact that he was returning to the side after a year. The pair's dominance yielded 205 runs in under 50 overs, and negated any advantage Sri Lanka had gained from Dhammika Prasad's early breaches.

Regardless of the ease with which South Africa progressed, there was merit in Sri Lanka's call to bowl; their historic win in Durban did not mask their problems against pace and bounce, and was founded upon South Africa's own abject batting display. Dilshan's decision shielded his weaker suit, and gave his seamers the mandate to attack South Africa in marginally helpful weather. He was, however, let down by a sketchy plan of action, and conditions that quickly played into the batsmen's hands. Sri Lanka were too full in the first hour, too short in the second, and all over the place in the afternoon, before tightening their act after tea.

In between-times, though, Prasad managed to hit the in-between lengths. His ability to ramp the pace up to 140 kph - a rare feat in an attack missing Dilhara Fernando - earned him success against Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla. Both batsmen began well, but perished to familiar failings - Smith chopped on while attempting a reckless cut, and Amla was trapped in front as he walked across the stumps. Amla consulted with Petersen, and rightly chose not to review the decision. That wasn't the only instance of Petersen's solid judgement in his comeback innings.

A couple of early drives down the ground and a nudge through square leg signalled that Petersen had carried his domestic form into the big league. Thereafter, he built steadily, before summoning the spirit to thrash Prasad over square leg for a six. He brought up his fifty with a brace of boundaries against Thisara Perera, before receding into the background.

Kallis came out throwing punches in all directions, reminiscent of his half-century against Australia in the recent Johannesburg Test. He nearly pulled his fourth ball straight to fine-leg, where Chanaka Welegedara inexplicably didn't go for the catch. Another pull off Angelo Mathews spiralled towards midwicket and landed safe. Encouraged, Mathews persisted with the short stuff, and Kallis pounded him into pulp with a raft of murderous pulls in front of square. Sri Lanka had missed their chance to nip him out early, and Kallis proceeded to enjoy himself.

Sri Lanka's discipline faltered dramatically after lunch. The early-morning moisture had evaporated, and with it all traces of sideways movement. Kallis rushed to his fifty off just 42 balls, and went on to expose their lack of pace, and Rangana Herath's lack of spin on the first-day surface. A 21-over phase without a single maiden suggested Sri Lanka's afternoon could not get any worse, but it did when they wasted both their reviews in desperation.

Petersen's signature shot was easily the straight drive, a shot he executed with an assured forward step and exemplary timing. Kallis, on the other hand, went on to produce shots of immense beauty in every direction. The punchy pulls gave way to picture-perfect cover drives and sublime straight hits, but the stroke that stood out was an astonishing whipped on-drive from the line of off stump when Thisara Perara was looking to angle one across defensively.

That shot came after Petersen's fall, sucked into an uppish drive by a Welegedara slower ball. The run-rate dropped below four for the first time in the 66th over, with de Villiers struggling to deal with Welegedara's offcutters. Having batted out of his comfort zone all day, Kallis seamlessly shifted into accumulation mode and chugged past 150. The stand was worth 86 by stumps, leaving Sri Lanka wondering if they had lost the Test even before it had started.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo